Melfort, Sask., resident didn’t let COVID-19 halt her 113th birthday celebrations

Reita Fennell celebrated her 113th birthday on Friday. Submitted by Carmen Irvine

How does a person get the members of the Melfort first responders to serenade them outside their home window? By celebrating their 113th birthday.

Reita Fennell or grandma Deat as she is commonly called, was treated to a street parade featuring first responders in her home window.

It marks the first time in a while where Fennell hasn’t been able to host large groups of family and friends, up to 100 people. But, that didn’t stop her from going through dozens of emails, text messages, and gift cards and connecting with loved ones over Facebook Live.

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She did get to enjoy dinner and cake with a couple of close family members.

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Her granddaughter-in-law, Carmen Irvine, says she asked why more people couldn’t show up this year and was reminded of the rules in place because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“She really missed having everybody,” said Irvine. “She really did miss having people around. She always enjoys having the really large birthday parties.”

This isn’t the first pandemic for Fennell, she went through the Spanish Flu in 1917.

Irvine says there are a number of factors for Fennell’s good bill of health.

“She (Fennell) says she doesn’t have a secret, but you know she is always been a woman of strong faith and she eats very healthy,” Irvine said. “She has always exercised.”

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